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Offloaded Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was last-minute addition to immigration list

Priya Pillai of Greenpeace was stopped by immigration officials early Sunday morning.

Written by Vijaita Singh , Amitabh Sinha | New Delhi |
Updated: January 14, 2015 12:13:26 pm
Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai. (Source: Twitter) Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai. (Source: Twitter)

Greenpeace campaigner Priya Pillai was “offloaded” from a London-bound flight at Delhi airport early Sunday after a look-out circular was issued against her by the Bureau of Immigration on January 9 — two days before her flight — on a request from the Intelligence Bureau, official sources said on Tuesday.

Pillai was heading to London to brief British parliamentarians on alleged rights violations at Mahan in Madhya Pradesh. Official sources said they had “prior information” on her travel plans, including the air ticket purchased by Greenpeace India. “We keep a tab on such activities and we had information that she was going to visit London for activities that were not in the nation’s interests,” an official claimed.

Meanwhile, UK MP Virendra Sharma, who was on the committee before which Pillai was to make a presentation, slammed the action of immigration officials and called it a “shameful stain” on Indian democracy.

“The alleged detention of Priya Pillai is a worrying development. Priya had been invited to address our ‘All Party Parliamentary Group’… Democracy requires freedom of campaign, and freedom to question the government,” Sharma said in an email response to The Indian Express.

Some legal activists too criticised the action against Pillai. “It is not legally sustainable. Any court will strike this down. This is an example of government cracking down on NGOs. Today it is Greenpeace, tomorrow it could be any one of us,” lawyer Indira Jaising said.

Lawyer-politician Prashant Bhushan said the action against Pillai showed “complete lack of respect of fundamental rights, civil liberties and the right to dissent”.

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